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Pay-It-Forward Effort Arrives In True Serendipitous Timing
Having to refrain from hugs while adhering to social distancing, Oakdale Enrichment Society representatives Lisa Ballard, left, and Cher Bairos, right, recently posed for a group photo with Susana Ramirez of Suzey Belen’s, who is displaying her letter from Dying Breed complete with a check to assist the local restaurant. More than two dozen local businesses were gifted with a check during the past week. Autumn Neal/The Leader

Some stories have a way of coming around full circle; while this is definitely not the results that were expected when Dying Breed began selling the All-Together brew and donating the proceeds back to their community, it’s definitely ironic. 

“It started because of the coronavirus and they wanted to give back to the community,” Oakdale Enrichment Society Vice President Cher Bairos said of Dying Breed’s All-Together brew, “all the money that they took in, they’re giving to more than two dozen businesses in Oakdale.”

Oakdale Enrichment Society, a local nonprofit Dying Breed paired with that’s dedicated to promoting Oakdale businesses and events, went around town during the past week to deliver checks to 28 local businesses. Some of these can even be considered Dying Breed’s competition, like Last Call Brewing Company or H-B Saloon, but they explained in the letter attached to the checks: “We hope this demonstrates our commitment to being a great community business and partner. We hope this unexpected gift helps and we wish you continued success as we all navigate these new waters.”

Essentially, Dying Breed is hoping to cultivate communal relations rather than unnecessary rivalry.

OES presented Susana Ramirez, owner of Suzey Belen’s, with her check of nearly $300 on Wednesday, July 1. As Joe Novotny recognized when he initially gave the check to OES, “it’s just under $300, but right now, paying a PG&E bill – anything helps.”

This is where the irony comes in, as these checks could not have come at a better time. OES stopped by the local Mexican restaurant along North Third Avenue downtown at 10:30 a.m. and some 90 minutes later, Governor Gavin Newsom started the livestream that announced Stanislaus, along with 18 other counties, had to once again close all indoor operations for restaurants.

As local businesses face re-closure and re-orientation as they decide what’s best for their establishment while complying with health restrictions, the All-Together brew effort will hopefully alleviate some worries.

Suzey Belen’s has responded to the new orders by now offering takeout at their establishment and serving those that opt for patio seating rather than dine-in. To order, call (209) 848-2849 or find them at 140 N. Third Ave., Oakdale. Dying Breed is also trying to remain open by offering outdoor seating, requiring patrons to order a meal with their beers, as well as by enforcing social distancing and wearing masks. To get in contact with the brewery, call (209) 322-3526.